Stevia Approval in the World
What is Stevia?
The stevia plant is native to South America and is a naturally sourced, zero-calorie sweetener that has been used as a sugar substitute for hundreds of years. The leaves of this plant, which was first called the “sweet plant” by the South American Natives 200 years ago, were dried, used to sweeten beverages, and chewed for their sweet taste.
The stevia plant was first recorded scientifically as Eupatorium rebaudianum by Moises Santiago de Bertoni in Paraguay in 1899. It was later identified as Stevia rebaudiana, a member of the sunflower (Asteraceae) family, in 1905.
Stevia as a plant extract was commercially approved in the 1970s in Japan, where it is still a popular sweetener today. Stevia is grown in many parts of the world, especially in Paraguay, Kenya, China, and the United States, as well as in countries such as Vietnam, Brazil, India, Argentina, and Colombia.
What Does the Name Stevia Mean?
Stevia is a general term used to denote different forms of the sweetener, including the whole Stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni) and leaves with sweet compounds. Stevia extract is the general name of the preparation obtained by the extraction method of sweet compounds from the Stevia leaves.
High Purity Stevia Leaf Extract
High purity stevia extract contains min. 95% or more steviol glycosides and is often referred to as stevia, steviol glycosides, stevia extract, or high purity stevia leaf extract. Only high-purity stevia extracts that meet this specification are approved by major regulatory authorities such as the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Food Additives Expert Committee, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and Codex Alimentarius (Codex) for use as food raw materials in food and beverage products.
Major Authorities Approving the Use of High Purity Stevia Extract in the World
Stevia is approved as a sweetener and food additive in more than 130 countries and is used in food products. There are more than 200 scientific studies supporting the safety of stevia leaf extract, and it has been approved by important food authorities in the world in light of the information obtained in these scientific studies. High purity stevia extracts have been used in most of the scientific studies on stevia.
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)
JECFA, administered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), has approved steviol glycosides as safe food additives. In 2009, JECFA determined the daily ADI for steviol glycosides to be 4 mg/kg body weight in steviol equivalents.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved the use of steviol glycosides as food additives in 2011. It is declared safe for consumption by everyone, including children and pregnant women.
The French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA)
In 2009, the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) approved 97% purity Rebaudioside A to be used in food and beverages.
The European Commission and the Standing Committee on the European Food Chain and Animal Health
In 2011, the European Commission and the European Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health approved steviol glycosides for use as food additives in the European Union.
The US Food and Drug Administration
In the United States, high-purity steviol glycoside extracts were recognized as “Generally Safe” (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2009 and approved for use in food products.
Health Canada (HC)
Stevia has undergone a full Canadian safety review and is approved for use as a food ingredient in a variety of foods sold in Canada. On November 30, 2012, the Canadian Health Directorate updated the “Approved Sweeteners” list so that stevia can be used by food companies with this approval.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)
In 2008, the Australian New Zealand Food Standards (FSANZ) allowed the use of steviol glycosides in certain amounts in certain foods. In December 2010, it approved an increase in the maximum allowable use of steviol glycosides in ice cream and certain beverages.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a notification regarding the approval of steviol glycosides in India in 2015. High purity steviol glycosides extracted from the stevia plant are approved for use in major food and beverage categories, including dairy products, beverages and table sweeteners.
Some Countries in the World Where Stevia is Approved
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, USA, Uruguay.
Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom (United Kingdom).
Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Vietnam.
Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
Algeria, Angola, Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
National Library of Medicine